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College Majors to Avoid + Rebuttal

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And back to the work itself

tumblr_mhvbne8hNk1qbcporo1_1280-02082013Good design often has this effect on me: it makes me want to find and do the work I am meant to find and do. Moving quickly through the many architecture or art or photography blogs out there also reminds me of what vision looks like when carried out. Vision alters our perceptions of the physical world and sometimes alters the physical world itself. And that is no small thing.

Yesterday I found myself in disagreement with the Burnt-Out Adjunct (whose too-infrequent posts I eagerly await and enjoy) who wrote that liberal arts studies should be more corollary than central to a college degree. Pisspoorprof was reflecting on another of these “ten worst” articles that pop up from time to time. This time it was Yahoo! Education touting the Four Foolish Majors to Avoid if you are trying to reboot your career.

Liberal arts degrees were the #1 opportunity killer with philosophy a close #2 opportunity killer. By the way, I cannot help but note that the entire article is an advertisement for the continuing services of Yahoo! Education.

As a holder of an undergrad degree in philosophy I both agree and disagree.

  • Yes: no one hires a college grad to resolve deep-seated teleology questions (one does that on one’s own time). But to his credit, the VP at Honeywell who gave the OK to hire me (lo these many years ago) did question my stance on freedom vs. determinism.
  • No: How about granting a bit of perspective? We need people who can think outside the present job parameters. And we desperately need people to challenge those parameters. Educating people to acquiesce by default is not what we need (though it is a short-term path to cash). Liberal Arts (and especially philosophy, let me say) can help this happen. Yes that sounds like the standard line from any college admissions staff says. Yes it is what professors say as they pass each other in the hallowed halls. No you don’t need a college degree to challenge the system, make a million bucks, make a difference or be homeless.

But studying things that don’t make money has a way of making us more conscious of all that is going on around us. Will it eventually make money? Maybe. Maybe not. But we need people with larger vision who can paint or write or photograph or build a different way of looking at things—however that happens.

What do you think?


Image credit: Studio Lindfors via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

August 26, 2013 at 5:00 am

One Response

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  1. Absolutely!


    August 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm

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